By Kyle LoJacono
Sunlake boys track and field’s two top scorers are on the same mission.
Senior sprinter Eddie Burgos and thrower Travis Manecke have set the goal to have their final high school competition come in the Class 3A state meet at the University of North Florida May 3.
For Manecke, it would be his third straight trip; for Burgos, it would be the first of his career.
“Getting to states would mean a lot,” Burgos said. “I’ve been hitting all my goals this year, and getting to states sounds like a good way to go out. I don’t even care if I place or anything. Just if I can make it would be a great ending.”
Nick Carroll, the only coach in program history, said Burgos has a unique goal to go along with making states.
“Last year when we took Travis we asked for a Sleep Number bed,” Carroll said. “We told that to Eddie, and he said his goal is to get a Sleep Number too.”
Burgos started competing in track while in eighth grade at Rushe Middle. His father convinced him the sport would make him faster for football, his primary sport.
“I just fell in love with it,” Burgos said. “I still see it as a building block for football because it keeps me in shape and makes me faster. It makes me one step ahead of everyone when the season starts, but at the same time, yeah, I do love it.”
Burgos said the event he first liked was the long jump, but he has since grown fonder of sprint events like the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100-meter relay. The 100 is his favorite.
Burgos won the Sunshine Athletic Conference championship in the 100 the last two years.
He also set his personal record of 10.93 seconds to finish second at districts as a junior, but came up just short of qualifying for states the next week at regionals where Burgos finished in fifth (10.97), one place and 0.09 seconds from a spot in the 3A final.
“It was actually so close they had to go back and look at the camera a couple times because third, fourth and fifth was that close,” Burgos said. “I guess I just didn’t make the cut, and boy I was mad. … It really has fueled me, and coach Carroll has been on me about that, and every time I feel tired and don’t want to keep pushing that gets me going again.”
Manecke became the first in the program’s six-year history to make states last year when he qualified in the discus and shot put. He also made it in the discus while attending Wiregrass Ranch as a sophomore.
Manecke won district titles in the shot and discus events and claimed first in the shot at districts in 2012, but had to settle for runner-up in both at conference this season.
“I’ve been trying to get back to where I was last year and the year before,” Manecke said. “I’m a little behind, but I’ve got a couple more weeks to get better.”
Carroll said Manecke has worked as hard to get stronger this year.
“His shot isn’t as long as it was last year. He’s throwing 44(-feet), when last year he threw 48 at districts, but his disc is better this year than it was last year at 147-10, so we’re working on his form and working to find some techniques to help him,” Carroll said.
Carroll added that both have done a lot to bring attention to Sunlake’s program.
“We score a lot of points with those guys,” Carroll said. “The younger guys coming in from Rushe seeing Eddie run as fast as he does and seeing Travis throw as far as he does gives them some motivation. I remind Eddie he ran as slow as molasses the first time he came out, so those younger guys can look and see what their hard work has done for them.”
The Seahawks will compete in the Class 3A-District 6 meet at Wiregrass Ranch April 16, followed by regionals at Leto April 24 and states at the University of North Florida May 3.
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker
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